New Rand Paul bill makes sure Senators (and public) can read the bills before the vote
As most Americans were ringing in 2013, the Senate was voting on tax-and-spend “fiscal cliff” legislation, even though most senators did not even get a chance to read the bill before the vote. Bringing legislation to the floor before most senators and representatives had a chance to read it is an all too common practice in Washington. In my 15 years on Capitol Hill working for Ron Paul, Dr. Paul and I would often joke there was an unwritten rule that the more important a bill was, the less time members, staffers, and the general public would have to read it before the vote.
Fortunately, Senator Rand Paul has introduced legislation, S.Res. 28, to end this practice. Senator Paul’s proposal would forbid the Senate from voting on legislation until after the bill is posted online and the Senate has been in session for at least one day for each 20 pages in the bill. So if a bill is forty pages long, it could not be voted on until 2 session days after the bill is introduced. If the bill is 500 pages, then it would not be voted on until twenty session days have passed.
This bill would be a major step forward in improving transparency in the Senate. It also resembles a cause Campaign for Liberty Chairman Ron Paul championed throughout his congressional career: The Sunlight Rule. This act required legislation be posted on the Internet 72 hours before the House voted.
Campaign for Liberty members should contact their senators and ask them to sponsor Rand Paul’s bill to make sure they are never again asked to vote on legislation before they, their staffs, and the public have had a chance to find out what is in it.